In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Sunday, July 14, 2024

Brequar Manor

Caerten Daffyd Puwl set down his tea mug and carefully adjusted the angle of the 1/72nd scale Baeliog he'd made as a kit. He'd painted it in the camouflage scheme and markings of his great-grandfather's tractor when that illustrious ancestor rode it through a breach in The Wall at Gate 18. He'd worked so hard on that model, studying photographs kept in the family shrine to get everything just right.

He typed in his password to log in to the Crusade Defense Network.

****User name or password invalid. Please try again.****

He snorted angrily. He opened his Field Message Pad and consulted the notation on the inside cover. Copying the password exactly, which wasn't easy with his artificial hand. The real one was on a rocky hillside in Upper Barro.

****User name or password invalid. Please try again.****

"Thundering Ancestors!" he shouted and banged his desk.

Brygyd, the Admin Milwer, looked up from her stacks of paperwork in the corner and hustled over.

"What's wrong sir?" she said using the same soothing tone that she deployed on irritated Syrnols, injured fydogs and upset kits.

"This Ancestorless abomination is refusing my password!" he huffed, feeling childish. "Again. And I've only just reset it." He tried to keep any note of whining out of his voice.

Brygyd consulted his FMP. "Is this it? 'BaeliogRider DOT 357'?"

"Yes" he said quietly.

Brygyd typed it in with a fast, efficient clatter of keys.

The screen cleared. 

"There you go sir. I suspect it was an issue with your Shift key."

"Thank you, Milwer." he said, somewhat humbled. "Honestly, I'm not sure what the school would do without you."

"Don't mention it, sir."

He opened his lecture for his next class for the Junior Leadership Course. This class was going to be covering the Assault at Brequar Manor, which almost a hundred years later was still studied as a text book example of how fire, maneuver, and aggression could overcome a larger enemy. 

He always liked giving this lesson. He'd made a model of the battle, and he'd gather the class around and get them to move figures through the trenches as he detailed the course of the short, brutal action. 

He picked up his mug and began to review.

********

During the evening of the 5th of Haelwyn, 1784, the 506th Light Infantry (Airmobile) loaded onto their airships with three days of rations, as much ammunition as the craft could carry, and all the hopes and prayers to the Ancestors of the Corps planning cell.


View from Crusader table edge

The airships lifted off into the gathering night and flew south and over the front that had solidified in southern Toulmore. A division of Toulmorean Marines were going to land at dawn behind the Coftyran trench lines. The 506th was tasked with landing inland from the beach defenses to disrupt Royalist communications and interdict reinforcements. This, combined with an armoured attack on the front would break the deadlock and open the way to liberating southern Toulmore.





I allowed the sniper to be put up in the tree. With his angle and the armour piercing ability of his heavy Afir 3TK 15mm anti-material rifle, he effectively negated the cover provided by the trenches.

That was the plan at least.

An unexpected crosswind scattered the formations, causing pilots to crash into trees or miss their landing zones completely. 

Alert Coftyran anti-kite artillery spotted the shadows pass across the stars and moon and opened fire.

Is-Caerten Dyk Cythwyn watched the bright yellow streams of tracers like fireflies searching for them drifting in the darkness. Panicked pilots dodged and weaved the lumbering craft. Occasionally the gunners got lucky and a fragile airship blossomed into flame and crashed to the ground.  Tracers whizzed past tearing holes in the gasbag overhead. Cythwyn grabbed the sides as the ship lurched and bucked in the sudden turbulence.

"We're going down!" the pilot screamed. "I don't think I can make the LZ!"

"Just get us down anywhere!" Cythwyn barked back. He turned to the rhyflers lined up along each side of the airship's hold. "Tighten your gear! Prepare for a rough landing!"

The airship crunched down into a field, the fragile framework collapsing over them. "Quickly! Before the fabric catches fire!" Cythwyn set the example and used his trench axe and combat knife to clear an opening for them to struggle free. "Everyone grab as much ammunition as you can!"

As his small command pulled what they could from the ruined airship he looked around to get his bearings. The direction of the moon and the preparatory barrage at the Front gave him a rough orientation. 

"Right, Yawdryl!" he said with as much confidence as he could muster. "This way... I think."

The Yawdryl hefted a few belts of ammunition over his shoulder and picked up a sack of grenades. "Good a direction as any, sir. I'm sure we'll find some Royalists whichever way we go." Yawdryl Gaunyr had a very simple outlook.

Through the darkness they crept, stopping and crouching when the scouts got nervous. They waylaid a dispatch rider heading to the front. They ambushed a ration truck. Dawn was breaking as they cautiously approached a village.

A challenge was hoarsely whispered from a hedge "Halt! Every Quar."

"A King." Cythwyn gave the response and stepped forward. "Is-Caerten Cythwyn, E Company. Is this headquarters?"

"Yes sir. What there is of it." The rhyfler lifted his bogen to the port arms. "Syrnol Virpikk's ship went down flaming. Sylwedl Lluwyn's taken command. He's set up in the second cottage on the right, sir."

The village was a hive of activity. Villagers had put up long hidden Toulmore flags. Rhyflers carried burdens. Yawdryl's shouted orders. Cythwyn told Gaunyr to get the rhyflers fed and then entered the headquarters and found Sylwedl Lluwyn looking at maps spread across a kitchen table while the housewife behind was making a large pot of tea. A signaler in the corner listened intently to his headset and twiddled dials while giving directions to the assistant balancing on a wardrobe while holding the antenna out the window.

Lluwyn pulled his pipe out of his mouth. "Ah! Cythwyn, just the chap we need."

He indicated the map, which was being updated by an Intelligence Is-Caerten with a red crayon. "How many lads have you got?"

Assault Force, E Coy 506 LI(A)
Is-Caerten Cythwyn, Yawdryl Gaunyr, Yawdryl Barryca (sniper)
2x LMG teams, 1x Spalgen Torpedo team
2x Bomber squads, 1 Rhyfle squad

"Yawdryl Gaunyr and almost two dozen rhyflers, sir. Where is Caerten Spyldyng?" The housewife pushed a fried worm sandwich and a mug of tea into his hands.

"Dead, scattered, lost, along with half the regiment. Only the Ancestors know. So as far as E company goes, you're it. Look here." He  traced some red tactical signs and blue arrows. "I've been pushing troops out as fast as they come in to block Royalist lines of communication. But scouts have found a battery here," he jabbed the stem of his pipe at a farm not far away from where they were, "giving the Marines landing at the beach a hard time. I need your chaps to silence those guns."

Cythwyn retrieved his own map from a pocket and unfolded it to compare. He found the place and circled it. Brequar Manor.

Garrison
Caerten, M. Yawdryl
6x rhyfle squads
HMG team already deployed on table

"Yawdryl Barryca" the Sylwedl nodded at a grim veteran with a long, deadly Afir 3TK rhyfle seated in the corner, "from the Scout and Sniper section will lead you there and give support."

Cythwyn went outside. Some of his company were around the door of another cottage where a young girl was handing out rolls while her grandfather poured glasses of his homemade apple brandy. "Yawdryl Gaunyr! Get everyone sorted out!' He pointed to a few boxes of grenades. "Load up on those. We've got some entrenchments to assault."

They approached silently, every rhyfler covering his arc, even if some were still munching on buns shoved into pockets. Cythwyn, Gaunyr, and Barryca crept forward to peer through the brush and scout the target. The guns boomed ponderously, throwing death towards the beach head. A few rhyflers were in the trenches, but most of the garrison was back at the manor. He could see smoke from a field kitchen.

He gathered the squad leaders in and sketched out the position in the dirt with a stick. "Right. Gaunyr, you take the weapons section and set up a base of fire here. Barryca you get up a tree with your rifle. Squad A, you go to the right. Squads B and C will go left with me. Move fast. Hit hard. Don't give them time to catch their breath."

Cythwyn checked to see that everyone was in position. He could see Squad A in the other hedge row. Gaunyr gave him a thumbs up. The bombers had grenades primed and ready, arms back to throw. Bogens and ryshis were leveled. Everyone looked at him. He put his whistle to his mouth and blew.

The hedgerows exploded with flame.

GAME 1
"Every Quar a King!" Crusaders assault the trenches.

Coftyran Master Yawdryl challenges the assault team

Clearing first trench while under fire from the HMG


Base of fire. Two LMG teams and a Torpedo launcher team.

Bloody hand to hand in the trench!


Assaulting the first gun position



Royalists form a stop line in Second Trench

More reinforcements advance



Royalists try a flanking move but run into an LMG team

Crusaders pushing down to second gun position



Yawdryl Gaunyr storms second trench solo

I've been building to this game for a year now, and I figured I finally had enough together to give it a try. Patrick commanded the Crusaders. We used "Rhyfler Rampant" (Xenos Rampant, but for Quar). I'm using a lot of Reduced Model Units, essentially 2 Strength Points per figure, because a lot of my Support Weapons only have 2 or 3 crew. Mixing the LMGs into squads of rhyflers just results in them getting lost, so I thought a 2 Quar team would be easier to keep track of. Although I have enough LMGs I could do  four Quar LMG sections and count them as a 10 figure section, with 5+ to hit, and Heavy Weapons so 6s count as 2 hits. Running them as a 5 SP heavy infantry squad with 6+ to hit is less than satisfactory.

Patrick's objective was to eliminate both guns before they fired a combined total of 60 rounds down range. Each turn I rolled a d6 for each gun that was active and tallied the results. Unfortunately for Patrick I rolled really quite well, a lot of 5s and 6s, which put the pressure on him and I just squeaked out a win as his assault team was ready to storm the last gun position.

GAME 2

I got inspired to convert a Boer War Creusot 155mm (6") Long Tom gun for my Quar and moved trench pieces around to add a third gun position. I then replayed the game solo using "Quar of Command."

The Crusaders used the same tactics, but of course things flowed very differently using the Command Dice for CoC. The guns only firing on 4s slowed things down. A lower number of shots for victory would be required, perhaps only 25. Or maybe I should have let the guns fire on a 1 or 2? The defenders got 14 shots off before two guns were captured and their Force Morale collapsed when the sniper potted their commander.

New siege gun. I changed the model so I could increase the elevation.

Revised layout with three gun pits now

Squad A attacks from the right. Squads B and C attack from the left. Base of fire is set up in the brush center front.

Defenders deploy

First gun pit gets taken out in a flurry of grenades.


Gun pit 2 gets overrun quickly.

Firefight!


Weapons section moves up. Light MG team eliminates a poor suppressed rhyfler after the rest of his squad was wiped out

Yawdryl Barryca

Lined up on a juicy target

Boom! -3 FM points.

*******
"....and it was all over in a matter of 15 minutes."

Daffyd turned from the large map of the battle site projected on the wall behind him and looked at the class of young rhyflers and milwers who showed leadership potential and were selected for further training.

"With the guns silenced, the Toulmore Marines were able to claw their way inland, turning the flank of the Royalist lines. Are there any questions?"

The class began to laugh and point. "Wh'hey, sir!"

"What? What's so funny?" He wondered if his fly was open. He turned to look at the screen. The slide from his lecture had been replaced with a photo from his Family Album. A young Daffyd Puwl was holding a model Baeliog and being presented with a Blue Ribbon at the Young Crusaders Annual Model Building Competition.

"Damned computers."

At least it wasn't one of his Honeymoon photos.



Thursday, July 11, 2024

Being One of the Cool Kids, Finally

Rhyfler Merch. The first Quar

Quar! What are they good for?

1st generation metal Crusaders
4th generation siocast Crusaders

Well... absolutely everything!

1st generation metal Royalists
3rd generation plastic Royalists

The plastic Quar from Wargames Atlantic have certainly created quite a stir. YouTube channels devoted to 40k content have done episodes about them. Painters on Instagram have discovered them. People in the Hot Lead community keep sending me links (I enjoy them, keep them coming!).

Their kind of silly, but deadly serious, often satiric, grimsical aesthetic has exploded upon the Tabletop Gaming scene at a time when,  it seems, a lot of voices have finally said "enough already!" with regards to Games Workshop's continuous new editions, overpricing, and artificial supply shortages driving FOMO. Consequently, the Quar Discord has exploded with a lot of people who have walked away from 40k. Whether they leave 40k because of  the exploitive pricing, the oppressive grimdark of the universe, or toxic fans. But for whatever reason, they've come to Quar and are feeling the energy I remember from the old Rogue Trader days in the 80s, which many of them are  too young to have experienced the first time. 

Part of that energy and enthusiasm comes directly from Joshua, who encourages and celebrates kit bashing, and repurposing models from other sources. Certainly I've found new uses for abandoned models from the lead pile.

Repurposed Boer War 1 pdr "pom-pom" gun

Kit bashed field gun 

Yes, that's a WW2 Soviet artillery tractor

The success of the first set though means that Zombiesmith and Wargames Atlantic are working on three more plastic releases. Plus an entire faction that will be released as .stls later this summer. Joshua Qualtieri is hinting at a completely new faction too.

So it seems that Quar are the Hot New Thing. The current wargaming zeitgeist, as it were.

I like to think that I was into Quar before they were cool. 

DH2 with Quar pilot

My excitement for all things Quar has certainly held on. I can use them for any First or Second World War scenario that captures my imagination really,  without having to paint a new force, or any SS. There aren't really any bad guys, or any Over the Top heroes or monsters. Every quar is just a dumpy, kind of sad, little guy, doing his best to survive in a big, scary world. 

I think I just described myself really. 

Which is part of the appeal. 

There's also the satire, and silly names, which I can indulge freely, without the worry about making fun of real, historical people.  A worry that deflated some of the fun of Colonial games for me. Concerns about Imperial expansion and oppression took the rest of the fun, but that's beside the point. 

Plus the goofy whimsy of the bizarre war machines. They're Quar, so they look at things differently, so maybe make different design choices. Which is a hurdle I could never get past with Victorian Science Fiction games, where I was always "Yeah, but that wouldn't work."

Fiat 2000 tanks. Goofy, awkward Interwar designs are very Quar

Or maybe I've finally matured enough as a gamer that I can tell nagging logic and reason to just shut up for once?





I've gotten so enthused about all things Quar that I've gone way out of my Comfort Zone and actually backed Joshua Qualitieri's Tribe on MyMiniFactory. But for USD$10 a month there's .stls, including tractors, so the extra arms and stuff to accessorize the plastic figures are just a bonus. Practically free. So actually, I'm being very economical with my hobby dollars.


Which is what I tell Mrs. Rabbitman. 



As some one who is traditionally very tight with my money, doesn't back Kickstarters, and is suspicious of anything that seems too good to be true, joining a Tribe like this is huge.





But how can you not like an army that has Messenger Squirrels and Cooks with herds of pigs?




So it's the First and Second World Wars, without the Nazis, and Death Camps, and the atrocities. Which is nice. The tactics are serious, but the characters are comic. Which keeps it fun.


It helps that I'm rather fond of both sides, and aesthetically like them equally, for different reasons. And some of the other factions are starting to appeal as well. The comic opera bicornes on the Gwyntish uniform will make for amusing auxiliaries for the Royalists. 



To be honest there's a not very small voice in my head telling me I should convert all my 15mm WW2 stuff in to 15mm Quar and play a Quar version of I Ain't Been Shot Mum or even Epic 40K.



Of course, it seems that I'm amassing enough 28mm that just getting a bigger table might be the more economical plan.